Saturday, April 18, 2009

CBBC's website and message boards

In the face of obduracy most kids have given up complaining, but a few are still questioning the changes to CBBC's message boards and website. This was posted a couple of days ago:-

Why won't you answer our questions PROPERLEY and giving a full explaination why you ruined the boards? I say why: you are heartless and cruel, not caring about any of us, as well as being scared that we know more than we get credit for.

Furry Time Lord: You should have been here when the boards were worth going on. It was more happy and relaxed. It ruined and will never be how it used to be.

On 5 February 2009 the BBC told me:-

We consulted other expert bodies outside the BBC (such as the NSPCC, Anti-bullying Alliance and CEOP) and have developed a number of social web products and services which are more appropriate and relevant to primary age children, such as myCBBC, Me & My Movie and Bugbears.

However I was particularly concerned about the withdrawal of peer help message boards such as the CBBC 'Bullying' and 'Your Life' message boards, as well as the withdrawal of all expert help about growing up problems which used to be provided by agony uncle Aaron. In a lengthy response to my further enquiries the BBC provided more details of their reasons for the changes.

As far as the expert help is concerned the BBC said that "provision of suitable information of complex issues for vulnerable kids is always best delivered by a sympathetic adult who can help put these concerns into context."

So I contacted the NSPCC to ask what they had to say about the withdrawal of expert online advice and they told me that they "would welcome more places where children could find support if they have a problem." They added that it's a shame the service is no longer available and said the NSPCC and Childline believe it is important that every opportunity is taken to provide vulnerable or worried children and young people with as much information and help as possible.

Newsround could have had the scoop if they'd decided to investigate, but when I asked on 5 January they told me the changes could be viewed as improvements "because it will allow more effort and resource to be put into the remaining boards and will allow more focused discussions." They had no plans to cover an investigation into the issue as they had already committed to another subject.

On 7 April 2009 I emailed the BBC to let them know the NSPCC viewpoint.

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